March 05, 2010

Good question: What do we teach about money?

My friend Kerry asked a great question on her blog,,  "How are you teaching your kids about money?"
I have to say I am grateful for what I was taught and subsequently learned about money. The foundation my mom and dad laid, has made course correction easier than tough, even when I've had big course corrections to make. I must have been 5 or 6 when my dad sat me down at the kitchen table to explain my allowance structure:
  • 50 cents a week
  • 10 cents for savings
  • 25 cents for church
  • 15 cents spending 
If I saved my spending money to a certain point, he'd double it. It worked for a long time. Then, when I got into the working world, my dad was the first one to remind me of the principles: Give to God and pay yourself first (10% each), then live on what's left. Actually, it was Mom who provided the awesome example of living within one's means*. It stuck. It wasn't always easy or even possible but it provided a reasonable and workable guideline. I have savings. So with our kids, we've done an updated version:
  • You're paid your age, twice a month. 
  • You give 10%, 
  • You save 10% 
  • and the rest...well, you can imagine the shopping and saving up that goes on. 
Occasionally, but not often, we'll buy extras. For the most part, wants come out of saved allowance (as opposed to savings). We provide clothes and shoes, of course, most of what they need, but when a need is really a want, it's on the individual to save. (This helps immensely with a shoe-lover inhabiting one of our bedrooms and I haven't bought a video game in years.) 

There's one more stipulation, if you're going shopping, we usually apply the 3-day waiting rule. I'd much rather drive back to that store to get what you're fairly certain you want, than watch you pitch it or give it away when you realize it was a whim. There's been growth for me here too. My daughter asked me once, while strolling through the French Market we call Target, why I didn't have a 3-day waiting rule. Yikes! Hoisted on my own petard! She was right. Why not give time for the cooling of shopper's infatuation? It's served me well. Usually. 

We don't put allowance on the line as a consequence for bad behavior. Everyone has house responsibilities. Everyone has to pitch in. So just like in the real world, you get paid if you do your work. But, if you are industrious, if you find and do extras, you're in a position to earn bonuses.

All of it has evolved. They started with colored envelopes in their drawer. Now, they have wallets and jars. It's working so far. But just last night my eldest, a thirteen year old, asked if he could get a job. He wants to go paintballing with friends and that's a pricey extra. I hear a lawn mower in the distance.

So, what do you know? What do you teach about money?

*Mom did this with grace. I have to say, my dad taught me tons, by not living by the rules he administered. I learned much from his mistakes.

February 28, 2010

I Love:: 28 and Quotable Sunday

"You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body."
C. S. Lewis

and I Love:: a quiet Sunday where I'm a little alone, a little not and knowing that very soon, all my people will reappear to "set the week," play a board game or two, find a giggle and a story.

Oh! I also love this wonderful month of I Love::. Thanks to Kerry, Mary and all the writing gals whose words crossed over and into my life. I look forward to more.


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